Infant massage is increasingly being used in the community for low-risk babies and their primary care givers. Anecdotal claims suggest benefits for sleep, respiration, elimination and the reduction of colic and wind. Infant massage is also thought to reduce infant stress and promote positive parent-infant interaction.
The aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of infant massage in promoting infant physical and mental health in population samples.
Searches were undertaken of CENTRAL 2005 (Issue 3), MEDLINE (1970 to 2005), PsycINFO (1970 to 2005), CINAHL (1982 to 2005), EMBASE (1980 to 2005), and a number of other Western and Chinese databases.
Studies in which babies under the age of six months were randomised to an infant massage or a no-treatment control group, and utilising a standardised outcome measuring infant mental or physical development.
Weighted and standardised mean differences and 95% confidence intervals are presented. Where appropriate the results have been combined in a meta-analysis using a random effects model.
Twenty-three studies were included in the review. One was a follow-up study and thirteen were included in a separate analysis due to concerns about the uniformly significant results and the lack of dropout. The results of nine studies providing primary data suggest that infant massage has no effect on growth, but provides some evidence suggestive of improved mother-infant interaction, sleep and relaxation, reduced crying and a beneficial impact on a number of hormones controlling stress. Results showing a significant impact on number of illnesses and clinic visits were limited to a study of Korean orphanage infants. There was no evidence of effects on cognitive and behavioural outcomes, infant attachment or temperament. The data from the 13 studies regarded to be at high risk of bias show uniformly significant benefits on growth, sleep, crying and bilirubin levels.
The only evidence of a significant impact of massage on growth was obtained from a group of studies regarded to be at high risk of bias. There was, however, some evidence of benefits on mother-infant interaction, sleeping and crying, and on hormones influencing stress levels. In the absence of evidence of harm, these findings may be sufficient to support the use of infant massage in the community, particularly in contexts where infant stimulation is poor. Further research is needed, however, before it will be possible to recommend universal provision.
"The available data in literature are not fully synthesized in an exhaustive systematic review: recently a Cochrane review concerning manipulative treatment has been published , while for other topics such as probiotics, pain-relieving agents and dietary treatment Cochrane reviews are in progress [19,27,42] (Table 3). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infantile colic is a common disturbance occurring in the first three months of life. It is a benign condition and one of the main causes of pediatric consultation in the early part of life because of its great impact on family life. Some pediatricians are prone to undervalue this issue mainly because of the lack of evidence based medicine guidelines. Up to now, there is no consensus concerning management and treatment. Literature reports growing evidence about the effectiveness of dietary, pharmacological, complementary and behavioral therapies as options for the management of infantile colic. Dietary approach, usually based on the avoidance of cow’s milk proteins in breast-feeding mothers and bottle-fed infants, more recently has seen the rise of new special formulas, such as partially hydrolyzed proteins and low lactose added with prebiotics or probiotics: their efficacy needs to be further documented. Investigated pharmacological agents are Simethicone and Cimetropium Bromide: the first is able to reduce bloating while the second could reduce fussing crying, but it has been tested only for severe infantile colic. No other pain relieving agents have been proposed until now, but some clinical trials are ongoing for new drugs.
There is limited evidence supporting the use of complementary and alternative treatments (herbal supplements, manipulative approach and acupuncture) or behavioral interventions.
Recent studies have focused the role of microbiota in the pathogenesis of this disturb and so new treatments, such as probiotics, have been proposed, but only few strains have been tested.
Further investigations are needed in order to provide evidence-based guidelines.
Italian Journal of Pediatrics 06/2014; 40(1):53. DOI:10.1186/1824-7288-40-53 · 1.52 Impact Factor
"There was also no signifi cant difference in outcome scores at any time point Only two trials of children. Positive results from one trial with minimal risk of bias but other trial failed to demonstrate effectiveness of Echinacea and did not provide data for all comparisons of interest Underdown et al (2006) 20 Massage Promoting physical and mental health 23 Yes Meta-analyses revealed no signifi cant increases in weight, length, head circumference or mid-arm/leg circumference. A signifi cant improvement in sleep hours was noted in the intervention group ( "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in paediatric populations is common yet, to date, there has been no synthesis of the evidence of its effectiveness in that population. This overview of systematic review evaluates the evidence for or against the effectiveness of CAM for any childhood condition.
Medline, AMED and Cochrane were searched from inception until September 2009. Reference lists of retrieved articles were hand-searched. Experts in the field of CAM were contacted. No language restrictions were applied.
17 systematic reviews were included in this overview, covering acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, massage and yoga. Results were unconvincing for most conditions although there is some evidence to suggest that acupuncture may be effective for postoperative nausea and vomiting, and that hypnotherapy may be effective in reducing procedure-related pain. Most of the reviews failed to mention the incidence of adverse effects of CAMs.
Although there is some encouraging evidence for hypnosis, herbal medicine and acupuncture, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that other CAMs are effective for the treatment of childhood conditions. Many of the systematic reviews included in this overview were of low quality, as were the randomised clinical trials within those reviews, further reducing the weight of that evidence. Future research in CAM for children should conform to the reporting standards outlined in the CONSORT and PRISMA guidelines.
Archives of Disease in Childhood 08/2011; 96(8):769-76. DOI:10.1136/adc.2009.179036 · 2.90 Impact Factor
"These studies from the animal literature have prompted exploration of touch-based intervention for isolated premature human infants with dramatic success (Schanberg and Field 1987; Kuhn and Schanberg 1998). A meta-analysis of studies of infant massage efficacy suggests that interactions between mother and infant are significantly improved by regular touch (Underdown et al. 2006) and additional touch has been demonstrated to improve developmental outcomes in institutionalized infants (Casler 1965). These studies emphasize the important role of touch in early development , and suggest that therapeutic approaches incorporating touch should continue to be used and developed in the treatment of premature infants. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to review the role of somatosensory perception in typical development, its aberration in a range of neurodevelopmental disorders, and the potential relations between tactile processing abnormalities and central features of each disorder such as motor, communication, and social development. Neurodevelopmental disorders that represent a range of symptoms and etiologies, and for which multiple peer-reviewed articles on somatosensory differences have been published, were chosen to include in the review. Relevant studies in animal models, as well as conditions of early sensory deprivation, are also included. Somatosensory processing plays an important, yet often overlooked, role in typical development and is aberrant in various neurodevelopmental disorders. This is demonstrated in studies of behavior, sensory thresholds, neuroanatomy, and neurophysiology in samples of children with Fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and cerebral palsy (CP). Impaired somatosensory processing is found in a range of neurodevelopmental disorders and is associated with deficits in communication, motor ability, and social skills in these disorders. Given the central role of touch in early development, both experimental and clinical approaches should take into consideration the role of somatosensory processing in the etiology and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders.
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